Private sponsorships

This section contains policy, procedures and guidance used by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada staff. It is posted on the Department’s website as a courtesy to stakeholders.

A13(1) provides the authority for sponsorship of foreign nationals.

Sponsorship groups

Sponsorship agreement holders (SAHs)

SAHs are incorporated organizations that have signed a formal sponsorship agreement with Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). Most current SAHs are religious organizations, ethno cultural groups or other humanitarian organizations. SAHs, which may be local, regional or national, assume overall responsibility for the management of sponsorships under their agreement. Organizations entering into a sponsorship agreement with IRCC, generally submit several refugee sponsorships a year.

Constituent groups (CGs)

CGs are a group of five individuals OR an individual in conjunction with a corporation, unincorporated organization, or association (R138). A SAH can authorize CGs to sponsor under its agreement and provide support to the refugees. Each SAH sets its own criteria for recognizing CGs. CGs are based in the sponsored refugee‘s expected community of settlement and must have their sponsorship application and settlement plan approved by their SAH before the undertaking is submitted to IRCC.

Groups of five (G5s)

G5s are five or more Canadian citizens or permanent residents, who are at least 18 years of age, live in the expected community of settlement and have collectively arranged for the sponsorship of a refugee living abroad. The five individuals act as guarantors that the necessary support will be provided for the full duration of the sponsorship. IRCC assesses members’ individual contributions collectively to the sponsorship, both financial and non-financial, before the sponsorship is approved. The group’s financial commitment must be up to the levels established in the Sponsorship Cost Table.

Community sponsors

A community sponsor is any organization (for-profit/not-for-profit, incorporated/non-incorporated) located in the community where the refugees are expected to settle can make an organizational commitment to sponsor. Unlike SAHs and their CGs, community sponsors are limited to submitting two sponsorship undertakings a year and must undergo financial and settlement plan assessments by IRCC each time they wish to sponsor. Like G5s, community sponsors must demonstrate that the organization is willing and able to commit funds toward the sponsorship in line with the levels established in the Sponsorship Cost Table.

Applicants sponsored by private sponsors may qualify under the Convention refugee abroad or the country of asylum classes. Applicants should be assessed against the criteria of both classes prior to being refused.

Sponsorship withdrawals

Sponsorship withdrawal is the cancellation of an undertaking to sponsor that occurs before the permanent resident visa has been issued. It is the last option when all other attempts to fulfill the conditions of the sponsorship have failed or when situations have changed.

Sponsorship withdrawal occurs when:

  • the sponsor cancels the sponsorship undertaking prior to the issuance of the permanent resident visa; or
  • the refugee withdraws their application (e.g., resettles in another country).

Note: A sponsor may not withdraw a case after a visa has been issued. In such cases, sponsorship dispute and breakdown protocols would be initiated following the applicant’s arrival in Canada (See IP 3 Part 3 (PDF, 704 KB)).

Sponsorship withdrawal requests must be sent to the ROC-O. The ROC-O will assess the reasons for the withdrawal and will send details of the withdrawal to the visa office via e-mail. If a sponsor is still required, the ROC-O will instruct the visa office to place final overseas processing on hold, and will request the sponsor to locate a new sponsoring group to take over the case by a certain deadline.

Note: Case withdrawals must be sent directly to the responsible visa office.

If a sponsor is still required and the ROC-O was not able to locate a replacement sponsor, the visa office will send a procedural fairness letter indicating that the applicant has 90 days to secure another sponsorship before their case will be refused under paragraph R139(1)(f). If a new sponsorship is not submitted within 90 days, the visa officer will send a refusal letter to the applicant, code the case as withdrawn, and close the case in CAIPS/GCMS. They should also inform the ROC-O via e-mail that the case has been closed.

If a sponsor is not required (e.g., durable solution has been found), the visa office will:

  • send a refusal letter to the applicant, code the case as withdrawn, and close the case in CAIPS/GCMS;
  • inform the ROC-O via e-mail that the case has been closed.
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